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Lee Henderson's debut collection of short fiction is an eccentric, mostly scintillating affair, packed with oddities and graced with an emotional pitch that warbles between ennui and outright heartbreak. The Broken Record Technique seems like the kind of writing that is usually pegged as suburban, but Henderson's eyes and ears are capable of looking outside of the strip malls, and a few of his stories bring an eerily urbanized view of farm life to the page.
Henderson's best stories are wholly unforgettable. The finale of The Broken Record Technique, the enigmatically titled "W," seems like the stuff of a bizarre TV movie: a young boy is abducted from his family's small-town home by a man who looks exactly like his father. The only witness to the crime is a remarkable toy, an electronic talking marmot blessed with formidable artificial intelligence. As the police haplessly search for clues to the case, the marmot gradually starves to death like a plush tamagotchi, losing its recorded evidence. Other highlights include "Spines a Length of Velcro," the tale of two suburban preteens forced to don plastic suits and sumo-wrestle for the delight of their betting, flirting, and inebriated parents; and "The Unfortunate," the touching tale of a doomed little boy born with a head the shape of a football who grows up in a rural home and eventually takes a job killing chickens.
A few of these stories feel like filler--postmodernism by the numbers that could have come from the pen of any young North American male writer. Nonetheless, the best stories in The Broken Record Technique far outshine the weak ones, and this is a formidable (and entertaining) first collection. --Jack Illingworth --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
“Henderson is…a master of the deadpan who manages always to avoid sinking into ennui…Highly recommended.” - - Geist
“Vancouverite Lee Henderson has 10 word-perfect stories of suburban satire that will confirm all your most bitter memories." - - The Georgia Straight
“…Fans of literary texture and depth will undoubtedly love losing themselves in Broken Record’s labyrinth of language.” - - EYE weekly
“It’s a strange and disquieting world and one that we are privileged to visit though the 10 stories in this inaugural collection.” - - Vancouver Sun